Sunday, 26 March 2017
More exceptionally wet weather kept me indoors. Even though I’ve heard of our region being described as the Pacific NorthWET, I feel (without checking statistics) that February and March have been exceptionally rainy.
I took the briefest of walks out into the front garden.
I applied myself to finishing Thank You for Being Late……and then turned to a much shorter book that I’d been looking forward to and that was soon due at the library.
I had read all of Betty’s books, enjoying both her acerbic wit and the Seattle and Vashon Island settings. (Warning: The Egg and I, her most famous book, published in 1945, has some passages of racism toward the local native tribe that bothered me very much when I read it. This is addressed in just one page of the biography.)
As I had always suspected, there was a more harrowing truth to the egg farm story than was revealed in Betty’s fictionalized autobiography.
I had started young on Betty’s books, with Mrs. Piggle Wiggle being a favourite of mine in grade school.
I was astonished to read that in the 1930s, Betty lived just three blocks east of where I grew up (6317 15th; I lived at 6309 12th). I must have walked by the house many times.
I was even more astonished to read that the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books might have been an influence on the name I chose in 1994 for my gardening business.
In spring of 1994, I somehow ran across (before I had internet!) a mention of a place in England called “Tangley Cottage”. I wonder if my memories of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s “tangly garden” is why the name appealed to me so much.
“Why do some moments in history, some people’s stories, resonate for us more than others? Perhaps because on some level, our own histories are deeply listening for them. Listening to the quiet voice saying, Find me.” —Paula Becker, Looking for Betty McDonald
Someone else that I found more about this week was Samuel Mockbee. First, he was mentioned in the real estate listing of a hidden garden paradise we recently toured, and then his Rural Studio was mentioned in the great book, Deep South, by Paul Theroux. Last night, we watched Citizen Architect, a video about him. It made me want to be young and a student at the Rural Studio.
As you can see, rainy days are in many ways quite perfect.